Edgar Bennett and Ben McAdoo each have a surplus of talent at the positions they coach. So which one is likely to get an extra guy?
Might Bennett get a sixth wide receiver? Or will McAdoo be awarded a fifth tight end? Packers General Manager Ted Thompson likely knows the answer, or maybe not, but he wasn’t in the mood to tip his hand on Monday.
“You want to be in position that they are hard decisions,” Thompson said.
Certainly, he is in that position. That’s the circumstance he faces at wide receiver and tight end, where there are major talent logjams Thompson must break without letting talent escape the confines of Lambeau Field.
Consider Bennett’s wide receiver group. Greg Jennings is one of the best big-play receivers in the game, Jordy Nelson had a huge Super Bowl, Donald Driver is in the victory-tour years of a great career, James Jones would be a starter on a lot of other teams, and second-round pick Randall Cobb heads a stunning collection of contenders for the No. 5 spot that includes first-year man Chastin West and undrafted rookie Tori Gurley, both of whom have had strong training camps.
How about McAdoo’s tight ends? Jermichael Finley is back following a season lost to knee injury, Andrew Quarless is a big in-line type with deep-seam speed, Tom Crabtree is a rugged blocker and rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor offer versatility and are pushing for playing time.
Finley might hold the key to both groups, as they relate to each other. Will Finley become the team’s star pass-catcher in 2011, as it was thought he was en route to becoming last season?
“He brings passion for the game. He has great energy. He wants the ball. There’s a fire about him,” McAdoo said of Finley. “He talks about wanting to be a great player. It’s not all talk. He backs it up.”
Jennings is Finley’s counterpart at wide receiver and turned in a third consecutive stellar season in 2010. With Finley out of action, Jennings became the Packers’ touchdown-maker, 12.
The Packers, of course, have seemingly always enjoyed such one-two punches in their passing game, whether it was Boyd Dowler and Carroll Dale, or Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman. Have the Packers ever, however, enjoyed a receiving corps as deep as the one they have now?
One-two punch? How about a 1-2-3-and-more punch?
“We talk about our standards. That’s the foundation: what’s accepted and what’s not accepted and everybody is in tune with that,” Bennett said.
“When you talk about the talent Ted and Mr. Wolf have brought in here through the years; guys know when they walk through the door what it means to be a Green Bay Packer.”
“There are five guys on the roster we’d like to keep around,” McAdoo said of his tight ends, extolling their virtues individually. “Top to bottom, we have a lot of guys who are playing well and have a future in this league.”
Bennett can say the same.
Do the Packers have the potential to have the best wide receiving corps in the league?
“I think we’re certainly working toward that,” Bennett said. “That’s our goal, but we have to go out and prove that. We have to earn it.”
Meanwhile, Thompson is the guy facing what would seem to be the most difficult decision of training camp: Six wide receivers or five tight ends?
“Everyone focuses on a final 53. It’s not a final 53. It’s a starting 53. History tells you it’ll change,” Thompson said.
Maybe there’s a clue in that.